CHRIS BUT­LER: FROM SEC­TIONS TO THE YACHT CLUB

Classic Trial - - BUTLER 250 TEMPEST 1964 CULTURE -

Born in 1932 in the sub­urb of Beth­nal Green in the East End of Lon­don, Chris But­ler sur­vived pneu­mo­nia and the Blitz, the bomb­ing raids launched by the Luft­waffe be­tween Septem­ber 1940 and May 1941 to de­stroy the morale of its in­hab­i­tants. If the war in­ter­fered with his ed­u­ca­tion, Chris still man­aged to re­main in ed­u­ca­tion un­til 1947.

At 15 years old and by the rec­om­men­da­tion of his teacher he be­gan his ca­reer in in­dus­trial de­sign. He loved mo­tor­cy­cles and he equipped his bikes with GRP prod­ucts of his own de­sign and man­u­fac­ture, which led to the cre­ation in 1957 of But­ler Mould­ings Limited.

He set up works in Hack­ney but he soon out­grew the premises, mov­ing to Haver­hill in Suf­folk. BML then had 10 glo­ri­ous years un­til 1968, which proved to be more dif­fi­cult. In ad­di­tion, af­ter 20 years of plea­sure as a mo­tor­cy­clist, the nu­mer­ous in­juries es­pe­cially to his right knee led to Chris hang­ing up his com­ple­tion bib.

As he lay re­cu­per­at­ing in his hospi­tal bed he had a rev­e­la­tion as he read ‘Yachts and Yachting’, which he dis­cussed with his wife Ge­orgina. BML re-launched it­self as a man­u­fac­turer of GRP boat hulls. Start­ing with a small se­ries of dinghies, Chris ex­panded his busi­ness dur­ing the 1980s to pro­duce rac­ing yachts (Achilles, 24, 9M and 840) for tran­satlan­tic com­pe­ti­tions. His mod­els were a suc­cess but he was not con­tent with just their man­u­fac­ture; Chris had lost none of his com­peti­tor’s spirit, and found he had a cer­tain talent!

In 1979 he took the class 2 win in the tran­satlan­tic race to the Azores and back (AZAB). In 1984 he fin­ished 7th in the Ob­server Sin­gle-handed Trans-At­lantic race (OS­TAR). On his boat Swansea Bay in the 25 to 30M class he ar­rived only a few hours be­hind some very well known names. Chris But­ler no longer rides mo­tor­cy­cles and the rigours of sail­ing has led to a new pas­sion in life, that of clas­si­cal mu­sic.

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